How To Take Care of Babies Going Through Opioid Withdrawal

As the number of people addicted to opioids continues to rise dramatically both in Louisiana and across the nation, so does the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Babies whose mothers were either treated with opioids or who have become addicted to opioids are frequently born with NAS. It is estimated that somewhere in the range of 55%-94% of babies exposed to opioids in utero are born with the condition.

NAS can cause problems with breathing, fever, poor feeding, and tremors. It can also cause disabilities later in life if not treated.

“Eat, Sleep, Console” Is a New and Promising Treatment Method

Hospitals are developing new and improved ways of taking care of babies with NAS. The older method was to keep babies with NAS in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). There, they were treated by doctors and nurses in a hospital environment focused on eliminating opioid dependence.  NICUs however, had no places for the babies’ mothers.

A newer method known as “Eat, Sleep, Console” has been pioneered by several hospitals to help keep mothers and babies together during this critical time. Rather than keeping babies under bright lights with monitors, the new method offers a quiet environment where mothers can breastfeed and touch their babies whenever they want. Schedules are determined by the babies’ needs rather than medical personnel; and maternal interaction is welcomed.

The new method has diminished the length of hospital stays for NAS babies  drastically. Under the NICU method, treatment averaged more than 22 days. Under the “Eat, Sleep, Console” method, hospital stays are reduced to six days on average.

A Louisiana Attorney for NAS and Opioid Addiction in Babies

Louisiana lawyer Bart Bernard is currently evaluating potential legal claims related to opioid addiction in babies and newborns. Opioid addiction is a serious problem that has grown due in part to the failure of drug manufacturers to warn parents, mothers-to-be, and their medical providers about the risks of addiction.

Was your child born with NAS or other challenges related to opioid addiction?  Tell us about your experience. Call today for a free legal consultation and Get it Done Right™ with Bart Bernard!

 Additional Resources:

  1. Gallegos, Alicia. “Caring for Babies With Opioid Withdrawal.” AAMC News. April 16, 2018.
  2. SAMHSA. Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.



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